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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: Since the day Odisha Cabinet passed a resolution to move Centre to conduct an enumeration of socially and educationally backward classes (SEBC) and other backward castes (OBC), the issue has heated up the State politics with the Opposition accusing the government of playing caste-based political gimmick to garner votes.

As per reports, the Central OBC Commission had earlier sent a questionnaire to Odisha government seeking details of the development works being undertaken by the State for the backward classes. The Commission had also asked to reply within 15 days. However, the State Cabinet passed a resolution soon after that and approached the Centre for caste-wise enumeration to be conducted simultaneously with the 2021 general census.

"Instead of giving details of the steps taken to include the backward classes in the different State and Central schemes, Odisha government is playing such political stunts by urging the Centre to conduct a socio-economic caste enumeration during the general census in 2021," alleged BJP spokesperson, Golak Mohapatra.

SEBCs and OBCs are still underdeveloped in Odisha. The government is just playing caste-based politics to garner votes, but people are no longer naive here, said Congress MLA Sura Routray.

Responding to the allegation, ruling-BJD MLA Ananta Das said that the sought details will be given once the survey is completed. "A survey is first needed to calculate the percentage of backward classes out of the total population in the State. How can we give details without a survey?" Das said.

It's pertinent to mention here that there are several Central schemes for backward classes but the State lacks any specific scheme for the said sections of the society. Hence, it is now alleged that the State seeking such an enumeration is politically motivated as SEBC and OBC comprise a major chunk of the electorate.

Besides, Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had earlier questioned Odisha government’s move to pass a resolution seeking the enumeration and asked why the State government is not implementing reservation for the backward classes in government jobs as well as in educational institutions.


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